The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the central government whether the thousands of protestors camped in and around Delhi to protest over the three farm laws are “protected from COVID-19”. In a significant observation, the apex court bench headed by the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde drew a parallel between the ongoing ‘farmer’ protests and the controversial Tablighi Jamaat congregation in the capital last year that went on to become one of India’s biggest clusters of coronavirus cases.
Hearing the plea that sought action against authorities for allowing Tablighi Jamaat congregation, CJI SA Bobde asked the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, “Do not know whether farmers are protected from COVID? Have you learnt from your experience what happened (referring to the Tablighi congregation)?
CJI SA Bobde, while hearing a plea seeking action against authorities for allowing Tablighi Jamaat congregation amid COVID19, says :— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) January 7, 2021
“Same problem may arise from farmers’ protests too. I don’t know if farmers are protected from COVID19′
Solicitor General replies, ‘they are not’
The bench also comprising Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian further asked whether farmers protesting at various Delhi borders are taking precaution to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The Chief Justice also observed that the same problem may arise from farmers’ protests too. “I don’t know if farmers are protected from COVID19,”‘ he asked the Solicitor General, who in turn replied, “they (protestors) are not”.
CJI tells SG : We are trying to ensure that COVID19 does not spread. Ensure guidelines issued is followed.— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) January 7, 2021
SC asks Centre to file a report.
The top court has reportedly asked the centre to file a report on the steps taken so far to contain the pandemic and added it was concerned for precautions not being taken against the spread of COVID in large gatherings. The bench said it is trying to ensure that the pandemic does not spread and directed the Centre to ensure guidelines are strictly followed.
The observations by the Supreme Court came at the hearing of a PIL questioning the role of the Centre and the Delhi Government in allowing the huge congregation at the Tablighi meet in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area in March 2020.
Tablighi Jamaat event that became the coronavirus super-spreader in India.
The Tablighi Jamaat congregation, which took place in Nizamuddin Markaz in the first half of March, became the mega-spreader of coronavirus in India, as many as more than one-third cases in India are linked to that event now. The persons who had attended the event, and their family members and those who came into contact with them are testing positive regularly, contributing the increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
The Tablighi jamaat event in Delhi wreaked havoc in the country. The event produced more than 30 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in the country at the time. The Markaz event was not only attended by Indian Muslims but also foreign nationals.
The alarm bells should have started ringing when seven Indonesian nationals associated with the organization tested positive for the Wuhan Coronavirus in Telangana after travelling from Delhi to Karimnagar for an Ijtema. However, it was only later that the full scope of the Tablighi Jamaat’s contribution to the spreading of the virus became prominent when nearly 300 Jamaatis in the Delhi’s Banglewali Masjid had to be taken to hospital for suspected coronavirus symptoms, many testing positive eventually.